Having an operation - Meeting with a specialist

Your first appointment will be with a consultant or another member of the surgical team. You can bring someone with you to this appointment.

At this stage, it's not guaranteed that surgery will be right for you. Only the consultant can make this decision, after carrying out tests, making a careful assessment and weighing up all the treatment options available to you.

You may want to ask your specialist the following questions:

  • What are the different types of treatment for my condition?
  • What are the benefits, side effects and risks of each of these treatments?
  • Why are you recommending I have this operation?
  • Are other types of non-surgical treatment possible for my condition?

If an operation is necessary, this will be your chance to find out what the operation involves, why it's needed, and whether it's suitable for you. Below are some questions you may want to ask:

  • Who will perform the operation? What qualifications and experience do they have?
  • What exactly does the operation involve, and how long will it take?
  • What type of anaesthetic will I need?
  • How long is the waiting list for this operation?
  • How will I know if the operation is a success?

Don't be afraid to ask practical questions, such as:

  • Will I need stitches and will there be scarring?
  • How long before the operation will I need to stop eating and drinking?
  • How long will I need to stay in hospital?
  • How long will it take me to recover and get back to normal?
  • Will I need time off work and, if so, for how long?

Make sure you discuss any concerns with the consultant.

You may wish to ask if there's any written information about the operation or procedure you can take away with you.

The Royal College of Surgeons of England (RCS) website has the answers to more questions about surgery.

At the end of the session, your consultant may book your operation or ask you to come back for a further appointment. Once booked, you should receive a letter with details of your operation, asking you to confirm you're happy with the proposed date and time.

Consent to treatment

Before having a planned operation, your consent should be obtained by the surgeon well in advance. This is to ensure you have plenty of time to examine any information about the procedure and ask questions.

If you change your mind at any point before the procedure, you're entitled to withdraw your previous consent.

Read more information about consent to treatment.

What happens next?

See preparing for surgery for information and advice on getting ready for your operation.




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